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Caring for Your Dog at Home: DIY Grooming Do’s and Don’ts

Recent circumstances have many people wondering how they can take care of their pet’s grooming needs at home. While it can seem like a daunting task, have no fear! Grooming can actually be a wonderful bonding time for you and your pup.

Knowing how to perform basic grooming tasks – such as brushing and bathing – is important in case life gets in the way. Maybe your regular groomer is away, or overbooked, or you’ve recently relocated and haven’t found a new provider just yet.

Like any other new skill, there’s certainly a learning curve when it comes to pet grooming. Try not to get frustrated – have patience, go easy on yourself, and try to enjoy the time spent with your furry friend!

DIY Tips for Grooming Your Dog at Home

Brush and comb your dog according to its coat’s needs. Short-coated dogs will not require as much brushing as those with longer fur, but regular brushing is important for both fur and skin health in all dogs.

Contact your groomer and ask what type of brush and style of comb works best on your dog’s coat. Note that this will differ from breed to breed. If you have a dog with a high-maintenance coat, your groomer may have product recommendations that can be ordered online or obtained via contactless delivery/pickup.

If your dog’s coat has already become matted, devote 10-15 minutes per day to work on brushing or combing problem areas. Working in smaller intervals of time will be less stressful for the both of you!

Maintaining a mat-free coat will depend on the size and thickness of your dog’s coat, but a good brushing 2-3 times per week is usually sufficient for most breeds. Pay special attention to typical problem areas on your pup, such as:

  • The ears (don’t forget behind the ears, too!)
  • Armpits
  • Chest
  • Belly
  • Legs

If you’re comfortable and know how to do safely, you can trim your dog’s nails using a specialized tool or use a nail file as a safe alternative.

What NOT to Do When Grooming Your Dog at Home

Do not use scissors of any kind to trim up your dog’s coat or cut out pesky mats – leave this to the professionals! It’s easy for skin to get caught up in a tight mat, and a nick or a cut can lead to other serious skin issues. This includes the use of electric clipping tools – a big no-no!

If you’re looking for a simple fix to keep your pup’s hair out of their eyes, never use elastic bands. It’s very easy to pinch your dog’s delicate skin, causing bigger problems for your pet, including damaged hair follicles. Instead, opt for baby barrettes as a safer alternative.

Unless you’ve been taught by your groomer, stay away from de-matting tools. This is something that most groomers will steer away from, instead opting for de-matting shampoos and conditioners and coat sprays instead. Do not try to brush a wet coat – dry and clean fur is ideal for at-home grooming, but dry and dirty would be better than wet!

When bathing your pup, only use products that are formulated and sold specifically for dogs – these are PH balanced to maintain skin health.

Never put anything larger than your finger covered with a tissue inside your dog’s ear – no cotton swabs allowed!

Call your Vet if you Encounter Any of At-Home Grooming Issues

If you encounter any of the following issues after completing grooming tasks at home, it’s time to call your vet:

  • If you’ve cut your dog
  • If a nail has either broken off or is still hanging on loosely
  • If your pup’s nail has grown around and into the pad of the foot
  • If your dog’s eyes have become infected from hair rubbing in them (look for crusts or atypical discharge)

Lastly, if your dog stopping suddenly and slamming his rear end on the ground or dragging his rear end on your floors, it could be an anal gland problem. Sometimes, these glands become too full for normal expression, and this can require medical attention.

Your Groomer is Your Best Resource

Remember that your groomer has built a relationship with your dog over the course of its lifetime and will have additional tips that are specific to your pup. Many groomers are more than happy to discuss a plan to maintain your dog’s coat at home until you can get them back into the salon for a full “sPAW” day.

Your new family member is precious and choosing the right puppy takes research and time. With PuppyViewer you can be sure that your time and effort will not be wasted!

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